I don’t like cars very much. Well, apart from the undeniable convenience of them when it comes getting somewhere that my feet and legs refuse to take me. The main reason I don’t like them though is because they have a habit of going wrong at the most inconvenient time and modern ones seem to take great delight in announcing that they are broken with a sound and light show. Yesterday our fourteen year old Skoda decided to entertain us by displaying the glow plug dashboard light in a cheery blinking fashion that wouldn’t go away no matter how hard I glared at it. The driver’s manual helpfully suggested that there might be a problem with the glow plugs. Genius, why didn’t I think of that.
I’m not all that knowledgeable about cars but I know what glow plugs are and I know that they are an essential requirement for starting the car, especially when it is cold. Like in January in the northern hemisphere. By way of a scientific experiment we let the car cool off completely and tried it again. It started first time and the flashing light didn’t come on so I assumed it had self-healed as it often does if we ignore the problem for long enough. Not so in this case. As soon as we used the brakes the flashing glow plug light came on again. Confused? Me too.
At this point I would usually just hand the car over to the garage with a heavy heart and a soon to be light wallet but having nothing better to do last night I decided to Google, “Skoda Fabia glow plug light flashing” and what a surprise I got. There was a general consensus that the flashing light probably had nothing whatsoever to do with the glow plugs but was just the engine management system having a bit of a laugh. I was advised to go and check the brake lights! By the internet users not the engine management system. Guess what? No brake lights working. As I said earlier, I’m not good with cars so maybe it isn’t surprising that I didn’t associate a glow plug warning light with failed brake lights but you have to admit it is a bit obscure isn’t it? I mean if a burglar alarm goes off as you walk down the street you don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that there is a tsunami on the way do you?
The very helpful car nuts on the web also went on to suggest that the problem is almost certainly the brake light switch that is mounted on the brake pedal and which can very easily be accessed just by ‘popping off the lower dashboard cover’. Oh yes, you’re not catching me out with that one I thought. I have ‘popped off’ bits of car interiors before and it is usually associated with many complex bits of springy metal flying all over the place and never being seen again. Which makes ‘popping’ the offending article back on again impossible. I have phoned the garage and they have ordered a new switch. Some things are best left to the experts.